MP Stalin vows to act in sexual harassment row at Chennai Academy of Arts

MP Stalin Vows to Act in Sexual Harassment Row at Chennai Academy of Arts

Students held signs and shouted slogans against the administration and the NCW.


On Friday, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MP Stalin, vowed to follow up on any complaints of sexual harassment at the Kalakshetra Foundation, an arts and culture academy in Chennai, where around 200 students protested there. one day about it.

“Legal proceedings will be taken against those found guilty. [but] there has been no written complaint to the police yet,” he said, a day after calling for justice for victims of alleged sexual harassment by four male faculty members.

The students held signs and shouted slogans against the administration and the National Commission for Women (NCW), which they accused of dismissing their complaints.

The protest came a day after NCW President Rekha Sharma made an unscheduled visit to the Kalakshetra campus. She met the director, Revathi Ramachandran, and some faculty members.

Students said she asked them to speak to her in public, in the presence of students and faculty members, about incidents of sexual harassment.

“She asked one by one, ‘have you been assaulted, have you been assaulted’. Is that the way to investigate? They aim to cover it up,” said a female student. the academy added: “It’s been going on for years.”

On the type of harassment survivors face, one student said: “It is sexual messages, abuse if we resist, bad grades are given and no opportunity to dance no matter how good we are” .

Another said: “Over the years many have been sexually abused…remember we are talking about 18 or 19 year old girls who don’t dare complain.

Ms Sharma had also earlier asked State Police Chief C Sylendra Babu not to pursue the case after the lead complainant denied allegations of sexual harassment during questioning by the Internal Committee on institute complaints.

Earlier this week, in a report, the body claimed that allegations of sexual misconduct by Kalakshetra faculty members were “misinformation”.

Director Ramachandran said those facing the allegations had been interviewed and the council would consider taking action in accordance with the law. “No one involved in any unsavory activity will be spared,” she said.

The Kalakshetra Foundation, founded in 1936 by dancer Rukmini Devi Arundale, is a nationally significant institute that offers courses in Bharatanatyam dance, Carnatic music and other traditional arts. It is known for its high standards of excellence and discipline and has produced many eminent artists over the decades.

The sexual harassment scandal has shaken the institution and its alumni, who have expressed their solidarity with the students and their dismay at the handling of the case. Some prominent artists, such as singer TM Krishna, have also spoken out against Kalakshetra’s response and called for a full investigation.

“As you know, no investigative process will be effective unless the atmosphere is caring and compassionate towards those who allege sexual abuse, in these cases young students and former students. When the place is if hierarchical, no one will speak freely and fearlessly,” Mr. Krishna said in a statement.

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